Chikungunya virus (CHIKV), an emerging alphavirus, has infected millions of people. However, the factors modulating disease outcome remain poorly understood. Here, we show in germ-free mice or in oral antibiotic-treated conventionally housed mice with depleted intestinal microbiomes that greater CHIKV infection and spread occurs within 1 day of virus inoculation. Alteration of the microbiome alters TLR7-MyD88 signaling in plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDCs) and blunts systemic production of type I interferon (IFN). Consequently, circulating monocytes express fewer IFN-stimulated genes and become permissive for CHIKV infection. Reconstitution with a single bacterial species, Clostridium scindens, or its derived metabolite, the secondary bile acid deoxycholic acid, can restore pDC- and MyD88-dependent type I IFN responses to restrict systemic CHIKV infection and transmission back to vector mosquitoes. Thus, symbiotic intestinal bacteria modulate antiviral immunity and levels of circulating alphaviruses within hours of infection through a bile acid-pDC-IFN signaling axis, which affects viremia, dissemination, and potentially transmission.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)901-918.e18
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 20 2020


  • Clostridium
  • alphavirus
  • bile acid
  • chikungunya
  • interferon
  • microbiome
  • monocyte
  • pathogenesis
  • plasmacytoid dendritic cell


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